10 April 2012

Finding Time to Create

A lot of people wonder how I have time to make things with a one and two year-old. I am not quite sure myself. I’ve been trying to figure out how to find time to create with two kids under two while also trying to feed everyone and keep the house off any of those hoarding TV shows. I also teach 2 evenings a week, so I have had to learn to actually schedule my time if I want any "Me Time!" 
I came across an interview with Beth Helfter on Quilting Gallery whose words really are an inspiration to me with her “20 Minutes a Day” personal rule.
For those quilters in the throes of raising families, quilting is just one more thing to add to the day’s “to do” list, and in our quest to make everyone in our lives happy except ourselves, something that gives us pleasure is the first thing to go. But it shouldn’t be. I am a firm believer both in “a happy mom means a happy family” and in my own personal 20 Minutes a Day rule…
Sure, that was a lot of 20 minute increments of my life over the course of two and a half years, but those 20 minute increments may have been all that kept me sane and feeling like I was accomplishing something just for me during the first two and a half years of my twins’ lives. And there is a lot to be said for remembering what makes YOU happy while you are trying to keep everyone else in your family happy. I am not sure how to reach all the former quilters who have given up due to a perceived lack of time, but I sort of want to make it a personal quest now to get them back. Because for one thing, the more under 45 quilters we have, the longer I can stay well under the average age. Do it for you. Do it for me.
Well, Beth, count me in at 31 years and small kids! I love the concept of 20 minutes a day–and no one said they should be consecutive. 34 seconds here, 4 minutes there…it will add up.
My wonderful sister-in-law and brother gave me Lyric Kinard’s Art + Quilt: Design, Principals and Creativity Exercises for my birthday. Among other inspirational and practical things, Kinard talks about being creative and realistic with your workspace. She has 5 kids, so she ought to know. Kinard says,
For a few years, I sewed standing up at a corner of the kitchen counter. It was too high for the little ones to reach. I could leave my projects out and take a stitch here and a stitch there…it does help to have some space, no matter how small, dedicated to your artwork.
These women are both inspirational to hear how they managed to create art while having small ones around. I create not to win some sort of race, but as a means of art therapy–to stay sane and as a focus in concentration and patience. Creating during my “me time” gives my brain a break from the constant chaos of kids, and I will take all the inspiration I can get and share it here for people saying, “But I have no time to make anything with kids!” I’m learning I have the same amount of time as anyone else; it’s what I do with that time that will allow me to get something--anything--done. And that is way better than not creating anything at all.

My not-so-baby-proofed "office"

One small area of my living room has become my "fiber studio." I have my works in progress bin, a table with a serger and sewing machine, a chest of drawers with labeled supplies, a printer, a drum carder, and a spinning wheel in this small area! I have learned to work quickly if the kids are around and to block off the wheel and drum carder.
I decided that fiber has to be a part of my life, so I am taking steps to make that possible for daily fiber play!

My real secret weapon? Yo Gabba Gabba

To read more about Lyric Kinard, read her post "The Story Behind The Quilts" at

1 comment:

  1. I remember those days of sewing at 2 in the morning and stitching in the car while waiting for the ski bus on weekends. In those day multi tasking was considered bizarre behavior - who knew I was just ahead of my time. It is challenging when your kids are young but my two sons who are grown men now remember those creative surges and they too have the need to create everyday - you are giving you children a wonderful gift of a fully filled mother. Hugs to you